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Cyprus Marks 34th Anniversary of Second Turkish Invasion
2008-08-14 10:04:17

Nicosia, Aug 14 - Cyprus marks the 34th anniversary of Turkey's second offensive against the island in the summer of 1974 resulting in the occupation of the island’s northern third.

It was August 14 1974 when Ankara's representatives to the Geneva peace talks at the time refused to give the Greek Cypriot representative time to consider their proposals and effectively presented Glafcos Clerides, former President of the Republic, with an ultimatum.

Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on July 20th 1974, five days after the legal government of the late Archbishop Makarios III was toppled by a military coup engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece.

Two unproductive conferences in Geneva followed; the first between Britain, Greece and Turkey and the second with the additional attendance of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot representatives.

Three weeks after a ceasefire was declared on 22 July, and despite the fact that talks were still being held and just as an agreement seemed about to be reached, the Turkish army mounted a second full-scale offensive.

As a result, Turkey increased its hold to include the booming tourist resort of Famagusta in the east and the rich citrus-growing area of Morphou in the west. All in all almost 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus came under Turkish military occupation.

Nearly one third of the population, some 200,000 Greek Cypriots, were forcibly uprooted from their homes and properties, thousands were killed during the hostilities, over 1,000 persons were listed as missing while thousands of Greek Cypriots and Maronites remained enclaved.

The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of mass violations of human rights in Cyprus.

Ankara has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for respect of the sovereignty, the independence and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops.

Last month, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed to begin full-fledged negotiations on September 3rd, under the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General.

The aim, they said, is to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem which will safeguard the fundamental and legitimate rights and interests of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. The agreed solution, they added, will be put to separate simultaneous referenda.

In recent remarks, President Christofias reiterated that the key to a solution is in the hands of Turkey and a settlement depends largely on her will. In a press conference last month Christofias pledged the Greek Cypriot side would do its utmost to create the conditions for a solution.

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